Rehoboth’s Joe and Darryl Do It Again
For an ice-cold martini, and an exquisite dinner in a casual, contemporary spot, you cannot beat the new Square One Restaurant and Martini Bar.
It’s back to square one for restaurateurs Joe Zuber and Darryl Ciarlante, who opened Dos Locos restaurant (the original Plumb Loco) many years ago at the same site at 10 N. First Street in Rehoboth. They expanded the wildly successful Mexican restaurant, moving it to Wilmington Avenue, and finally to Rehoboth Avenue before selling it.
Then, the guys opened, expanded, and nurtured the joyous Diego’s Bar and Nightclub, still rocking away on Rehoboth Avenue extended.
Now they’re back to square one—the site of their first restaurant venture on First Street where they’ve exceled again by opening the new and appropriately named Square One Grill and Martini Bar. They are back to where their Rehoboth culinary history began.
I’ve visited the place at least three times in the last few months and have always had a wonderful time, an excellent meal, and an appreciation for the fine service.
My most recent visit started with a welcome from our favorite waiter, Tyler, who got us in just under the wire for happy hour. I had a Tropical Cosmo, made with SKYY Pineapple, Triple Sec, lime, and cranberry. Really lovely. Bonnie had her signature Rob Roy (a Manhattan with Scotch), perfectly made.
Other martinis I’ve sampled include the Appletini, and Blood Orange, but the list is expansive and fun. The drinks are served with one drink in the martini glass and a second portion served in the personal martini shaker. Classy. And by the way, happy hour is from 5-6—well worth it!
Our meal started with my two favorite SQ1 appetizers. The calamari is prepared with black pepper breading, lemon butter, pickled chilis, and spicy dipping sauce. Only the sauce is really spicy.
We also really enjoyed the Happy Cauliflower, which is battered cauliflower coated in Tso sauce and sesame. It’s one of the best appetizers I’ve had anywhere.
My rockfish entrée, served with a taste of cucumber salad, was portioned large enough for us to split, our having had our way with the appetizers. From other visits I can heartily recommend the tender and expertly cooked ribeye steak. It’s 12 ounces of Angus beef served with whipped potatoes and asparagus. Another winner is the Stuffed Chicken Breast with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and smoked cheese.
Harkening back to Joe and Darryl’s original Mexican restaurant and its iterations all over town, there are two of their old Locos’ favorites on the new menu. You can blast to the past with the heavenly crab-filled corn tortillas topped with chipotle cream sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, and sour cream, or the grilled flour tortilla filled with Monterey Jack cheese, lump crab meat, sliced tomatoes topped with old bay, and sour cream.
Square One is the perfect place for an exquisite full dinner or a bar visit for the martinis and charcuterie boards. The Fries & SQ1 seasoning go with all the cocktails. As for the charcuterie, all boards are served with dried fruit, pickled vegetables, flatbreads, and wholegrain mustard. There are so many wonderful choices of meats and cheeses to create your own boards. There are Bries, Camenberts, Goudas, Cheddars, and a raspberry puree with blue cheese (love it!). The meats boast pork, venison, salami, wild boar, and more. It’s sophisticated, fun, and so very tasty.
Okay, so let’s talk about dessert. On our first two visits we were too full of great dinner to sample. But this last visit fell on a friend’s birthday, so we were duty bound. We sampled the scrumptious carrot cake served in a slice the size of a large handbag. Three of us couldn’t finish it. That may have been because we also ordered the flourless chocolate cake with the toasted marshmallow on top and I swear it is among the best desserts I have ever had in my long career writing about food. I cannot describe it. Just go taste it.
Square One is open Tuesday-Sunday at 5 p.m., there are booths, tables, and seats at the bar. You may find me there. And I’ll be a happy camper. ▼
Fay Jacobs is the author of five published books and is touring with her one-woman sit-down comedy show, Aging Gracelessly.